Southwestern Law School Los Angeles, CA

Externship Program

Southwestern's Externship Program serves to enhance the more traditional casebook method of legal instruction by providing students with an opportunity to directly experience the attorney's role through a variety of on-site placements. Approximately 300 students participate in externships each year; more than two-thirds complete at least one externship, and nearly one quarter take two externships as part of their J.D. curriculum.  

Click here for general Externship Office and Program information, such as office hours, staff members and events.

The program offers a diversified selection of several hundred part-time and full-time externships each semester and during the summer session. Students may be placed in judicial settings; in-house legal departments/entertainment industry; public interest organizations; or federal, state and local government offices throughout Southern California. During the summer session, placements are possible nationally as well as internationally. Click here for a sampling of some of the placements available to students through the Externship Program.

Externships are also a great opportunity for students to refine educational goals and test career goals. The objectives of the Externship Program are to help students:

  • Develop and improve professional skills
  • Develop the ability to solve legal problems in real-life situations
  • Reflect on values and responsibilities of the legal profession
  • Adjust to the role of the legal profession
  • Learn how to learn from experience

In order to reflect on the externship experience and optimize the benefit derived from it, externs must participate online in "Guided Reflections," discussing topics such as goals for the externship, reflecting on their training, discussing ethical concerns that may have come up, etc. The "Guided Reflections" are supervised by faculty advisors.

Externs are also required to maintain weekly time sheets and work product files during their externships for review by a faculty member. In addition, each full-time extern must submit an 8 to 10 page critical commentary at the end of the externship.

Course Number 680A
2 to 10 units

depending on semester of participation
and nature of placement

Externship Open Forum

Students are encouraged to visit the Externship Office in W231 to learn more about Southwestern's rich and diverse Externship Program and start planning ahead for placements they may be interested in. In addition, students should attend the Externship Open Forum and Externship Day to find out more about the Externship Program and placement opportunities.